LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) – The nuclear power plant crisis in Japan has raised concerns about the state of similar facilities in this country. And particularly in South Jersey, where there is talk of building a new nuclear plant on the Salem County site (above) where three nuclear reactors already operate.

The fourth reactor being considered on Artificial Island in Lower Alloways Creek is nowhere near certain at this point.  But the three already there worry groups like “Unplug Salem” and its coordinator, Norm Cohen.

The Hope Creek facility has a “blowing water” containment system similar to the ones now in trouble in Japan.

“We have definite concerns about whether or not Hope Creek can withstand a double whammy of, let’s say, a hurricane and a huge storm surge,” Cohen told KYW Newsradio this morning.

Joe Delmar, a spokesman for the electric utility PSEG Nuclear, says all facilities far exceed government guidelines for catastrophic preparedness.

As for Hope Creek, he says it shoud not be compared to the Japanese plants that are now spewing dangerous radiation into the atmosphere (see related story).

“No two BWRs (blowing water reactors) are alike,” he said.  “So there are design differences.”

And he says design requirements are more stringent here, particularly on the safety and emergency planning sides, than they are in Japan.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio

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